Good morning, folks. Let’s talk NBA Bubble.
Murray and Nuggets can’t extend series lead to 2-0 against Jazz
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell didn’t drop 57 points in Game 2, but he helped secure something much more important: a series tieing win. The former Louisville product still poured in 30 points against the Denver Nuggets, shooting 10-14 from the floor and an even more impressive 6-7 clip from beyond the arc. After the Jazz fell in a tightly contested overtime outing in Game 1, they took control of Game 2 in the second-half to ensure they didn’t need an extra period to decide the outcome. 21 of Mitchell’s 30 points came during an explosive third-quarter that saw Utah push its lead to 27 by the time the fourth quarter began.
The Nuggets elected to double-team Mitchell for a good chunk of the afternoon, forcing him to make plays and his teammates to hit shots. Unfortunately for Denver, that’s exactly what happened. Mitchell finished with eight assists while the Jazz as a team shot nearly 52 percent from the floor.
For Denver, Jamal Murray finished with 14 points, three rebounds, and four assists while shooting 6-13 from the field. Fellow Nuggets players Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. both dropped in 28 points apiece, but it was the defensive end of the ball that spelled doom for them. Chalk up some of it to luck–at one point, Utah was 20-35 on its 3-point attempts–but the Jazz offense was firing on all cylinders throughout the entire game. Murray, who had multiple spurts of aggressiveness in Game 1, was much more passive in Game 2 when it came to getting his. He never got into a groove with the ball in his hands and the Nuggets offense suffered. As a result, we have an evened up series.
Other notes from the Bubble
Outside of the Jazz-Nuggets game, the rest of the day was rather quiet on the BBNBA front. With the way the schedule is set up for the first round of the playoffs, it might stay like this for another week or two. Teams are consistently playing every other day right now, which means we have an A-Day/B-Day style setup (remember high school?). So, for instance, Wednesday was what I’ll call an ‘A-Day’, and A-Days will always showcase former ‘Cats such as Murray and Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter. As for Thursday, which will be a ‘B-Day’, the BBNBA lineup is massive, featuring several stars such as Anthony Davis, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Eric Bledsoe.
For simplicity sakes…
A-Days = few former Wildcats
B-Days = several former Wildcats
We do have to mention Kanter, though, as he provided some excellent minutes in the Celtics 128-101 win over the 76ers that gave Boston a 2-0 series lead. The big man contributed 10 points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes (the most he’s played in since early February), mostly matching up against Philly’s star center Joel Embiid. For the most part, Kanter held his own against Embiid–although Philly’s problems go much further than anything to do with Embiid–and he was plenty active on the glass. Any positive minutes from Kanter are bonus points for the Celtics.
Series standings from Wednesday
(2) Raptors lead (7) Nets 2-0
(3) Celtics lead (6) 76ers 2-0
(3) Nuggets tied with (6) Jazz 1-1
(2) Clippers tied with (7) Mavericks 1-1
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||105-124 L vs. UTA||14||6-13 (1-2)||3||4||0||0||3||-20||30|
|Enes Kanter (BOS)||128-101 W vs. PHI||10||4-7 (1-1)||9||1||0||0||0||+24||21|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (DAL)||127-114 W @ LAC||0||0-1 (0-0)||1||0||0||0||0||-15||5|
|Patrick Patterson (LAC)||114-127 L vs. DAL||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TODAY IN THE BUBBLE
1:00: Heat (Adebayo, Herro) @ Pacers [MIA leads 1-0]
3:30: Thunder (Diallo, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel) @ Rockets [HOU leads 1-0]
6:00: Magic @ Bucks (Bledsoe) [ORL leads 1-0]
9:00: Trail Blazers (Gabriel) @ Lakers (Davis, Rondo: questionable) [POR leads 1-0]
*All games set to air on ESPN*